Man sex­u­ally as­saulted dur­ing pri­son tour awarded dam­ages

The Prince George Citizen - - News -

VAN­COU­VER — A man who was re­quired to visit a no­to­ri­ous British Columbia pri­son as part of a “scared straight” pro­gram has been awarded $175,000 in dam­ages for a sex­ual as­sault that hap­pened dur­ing the tour.

The man, only iden­ti­fied by his ini­tials in the judg­ment, was 14 in the late 1970s when he was placed on pro­ba­tion for break­ing and en­ter­ing.

The B.C. Supreme Court de­ci­sion says as part of his pro­ba­tion he was re­quired to take a tour of the now-closed Oakalla pri­son and was sex­u­ally as­saulted af­ter a cor­rec­tions of­fi­cer forced him into a cell with five in­mates.

The man’s law­suit named the British Columbia gov­ern­ment and Roderic MacDougall, a for­mer pri­son guard who was con­victed for in­de­cent and sex­ual as­saults against pris­on­ers.

Jus­tice Jen­nifer Dun­can ruled the sex­ual as­sault took place and the prov­ince is li­able, but the plain­tiff couldn’t es­tab­lish that MacDougall was the of­fi­cer who fa­cil­i­tated the at­tack.

She awarded the man, who is now 54 years old, $150,000 in dam­ages and $25,000 for the cost of fu­ture care, plus his le­gal costs.

“The struc­ture and oper­a­tion of the youth tour pro­gram in 1978 left a great deal to be de­sired from a modern per­spec­tive, to put in mildly,” Dun­can said in her rul­ing posted Wed­nes­day.

“The of­fi­cers were left to choose the in­mates they felt were ap­pro­pri­ate to in­ter­act with the youth” said the judge, who noted that the youth could have been ex­posed to in­mates fac­ing sex charges.

“The youth were sub­jected to cat­calls and ver­bal abuse by in­mates, but that seemed to de­pend on whether the youth ap­peared suit­ably chas­tened by the ex­pe­ri­ence. The pur­pose of the pro­gram was, af­ter all, to scare chil­dren into dis­avow­ing a life of crime.”

Sev­eral suc­cess­ful civil court law­suits from other pris­on­ers were filed against MacDougall.

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